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Full text of "My country and my people"

WOMAN'S  LIFE                    157
the castaway wife often seems an infinitely pathetic spectacle, with her social position lost and her home broken, Always there is one happy woman, and one who cannot be made happy by any human arrangement. Even real economic independence of women will not solve it.
In China such cases are happening every day before our eyes, and it has sometimes seemed to me that the modem woman who drives out the old wife with her feminine ferocity approximates very nearly the state of barbarism of our forefathers, in spite of the fact that she is modem enough not to tolerate living under the same roof with another woman as her equal. In the past a really good woman, who was "caught in circumstances that involved her with a married man and who truly loved him, was willing to go to his family as concubine and serve the wife with humility and respect. Now driving one another out and taking one another's place by turn in the name of monogamy seems to the women to be the better way. It is the modern, emancipated, so-called civilized way. If women prefer it that way, let them have it, since it is they who are primarily affected by it. The young and beautiful ones, however, will win in the battle against their own sex at the expense of tlie older women. The problem is really so new and yet so old. The marriage system will be imperfect as long as human nature is imperfect. Let us therefore agree to leave the problem unsolved. Perhaps only an innate sense cf'equity and fair-play and an increased sense of parental responsibility will ever reduce the number of such cases. f
Of course, it is useless to defend concubinage, unless one is ready to defend polyandry at the same time, Ku Hungming, the Edinburgh M.A. and profuse quoter of Thomas Garlyle and Matthew Arnold, once defended concubinage by saying: "You have seen a tea-pot with four tea-cups, but did you ever see a tea-cup with four tea-pots?" The best reply to this are the words of Fan Chinlien, concubine of Hsinrch Ch'ing in Chinp'inmei: "Do you ever see two spcpa^fn the same bowl that do not knock against each other?** She knew what she was talking about . ^^^